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Despart, M. R. | Chowa, G. | Hart, L. J.
2012 | United states

Personal financial problems: Opportunities for social work interventions?

Financial Inclusion

Social workers have opportunities to help clients address their financial problems through a variety of practice settings, yet little is known about how they do so. Using qualitative methods and descriptive statistics, we analyzed responses from a survey of social workers and other human service professionals (N=56). Participants primarily characterized their clients’ financial problems as the result of making poor financial decisions and mostly used financial education techniques in response. Most participants said they faced workplace barriers to helping their clients with financial problems, including lack of expertise and time and inability to bill for services. Social workers who want to address clients’ financial problems should recognize that financial problems stem not just from difficulties in managing money, but in the need for increased income, resources, and assets and an understanding of financial services. Future research with a larger sample of social workers is needed to assess how intervention methods vary by client population and to conduct pilot efficacy evaluations of well-conceptualized interventions to promote financial well-being.



Despard, M. R., Chowa, G., & Hart, L. J. (2012). Personal financial problems: Opportunities for social work interventions? Journal of Social Service Research, 38(3), 342–350. doi:10.1080/01488376.2011.638733